CONA fall 2013 meeting summary and current initiatives

CONA met with APA leaders and worked on its strategic initiatives.

APA's Committee on Aging (CONA) held its second and final meeting of the year in September. CONA met with a number of APA leaders including APA President-elect Nadine Kaslow, PhD, APA CEO Norman Anderson, PhD, and Ellen Garrison, PhD, senior policy director regarding the Presidential Initiative on Medical Homes and the Center for Psychology and Health. CONA discussed the rich history of integrated care and interdisciplinary team efforts with older adults in which psychologists (both researchers and practitioners) have been at the forefront and how these efforts can inform APA’s work in this area. With Steven Breckler, PhD, executive director of the Science Directorate, CONA discussed the priorities of the directorate and the Center for Workforce Studies. CONA discussed options for increasing continuing education offerings in psychology and aging with Greg Neimeyer, PhD, the associate executive director for continuing education. 

CONA spent a significant portion of its meeting time on its strategic initiatives. The CONA strategic plan has five goals: 

  1. develop and maintain the workforce to serve older adults, 
  2. promote the science of psychology for the benefit of older adults, 
  3. promote access to high quality integrated care for older adults, 
  4. promote the health and well-being of the diverse, aging population and 
  5. promote the integration of aging into all relevant APA policies, initiatives and activities.

Related to its second initiative, promoting the science of psychology for the benefit of older adults, CONA discussed plans to draft a white paper on behavioral prevention and treatment interventions related to cognitive aging and dementia in response to the call in the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease. CONA is also in the process of updating Prolonging Vitality (PDF, 1.12MB), a publication developed by a Presidential Initiative of 2008 APA President Alan E. Kazdin, that highlights how psychologists are researching ways to improve the quality of life for older adults. 

Related to its third initiative, promoting access to high quality integrated care for older adults, CONA, Div. 20 (Adult Development and Aging) and Div. 12-2 (Clinical Geropsychology) offered a 2013 APA Annual Convention symposium, "Training for integrated care with older adults: Real world implementation and the path forward". Patricia A. Areán, PhD, Erin E. Emery, PhD, Brian D. Carpenter, PhD, Richard A. Zweig, PhD, and discussant Antonette M. Zeiss, PhD, focused on real-life challenges for implementation of integrated care training at the graduate school, externship, internship, fellowship and post-licensure levels. The session was chaired by CONA chair elect, Jennifer Moye, PhD. Their presentations are now online (PDF, 985KB). CONA also provide a list of geropsychologists with expertise in interdisciplinary work, programs in which psychology is actively involved in interdisciplinary teams and key articles on this topic to the APA Center for Psychology and Health to support its efforts.  CONA is very pleased that CONA early career member, Kimberly Hiroto, PhD, is co-chair of the Presidential initiative on Patient-Centered Medical Homes.

Related to its fifth initiative, promote the integration of aging into all relevant APA policies, initiatives and activities, CONA provides input to all APA proposed initiatives, documents and policies. As a recent example, CONA commented on the proposed APA resolution on Gun Violence Prediction and Prevention requesting the preamble to be modified to reflect the extraordinary high rate of suicide in older adults and the role of firearms in these deaths.